Custo Dalmau marched to his own beat for Custo Barcelona…Tess Giberson showed Summer-of-Love looks…and Richard Chai went ladylike and minimal.

Custo Barcelona: Since designer Custo Dalmau always shows dozens of combinations of his signature prints, colors and textures, the Custo Barcelona collection can be a little overwhelming on the runway. It’s all just so darn much. But Dalmau, who’s Spanish, is clearly doing something right. His collection does well internationally. He has 22 stores worldwide and plans to open five more in the U.S. by the end of the year, to add the current three in New York, Chicago and Santa Fe.

The collection Dalmau showed on Friday was titled, “Summer as a Journey,” and it had a get-up-and-go feeling perfect for a quick jaunt. There were lots of spring coats, easy T-shirts and pretty printed skirts and shorts, many accessorized with matching caps or umbrellas. The best pieces were the delightful cotton pique trenches in white, lime, aqua and pink, many with Victorian-style raised shoulders or a contrast yoke in back. Nylon or cotton windbreakers with a retro feel looked sweet, too, with tiny ruffles on the pockets or shoulders.

Richard Chai: To fashion insiders, Richard Chai is far from being a new name. They knew him first as a designer at Marc Jacobs and then as one of the creative forces who passed through the revolving doors at Tse. Still, Chai’s Saturday show was his first effort under his own name.

The designer offered up a line of clothes for the the sophisticated, yet individual girl that so many seem to want to dress this season. Although Chai’s tailored, ladylike silhouettes — pencil skirts, skinny pants, belted jackets and ultralight knit — aren’t exactly unfamiliar, the designer worked them in a minimal and not-quite-sweet way that made his collection distinctive. For starters, he picked up a thread from the Space Age story that he started to tell with his last collection at Tse for fall 2003. How does lady go techno? In some cases, it’s done by cutting an old-standby, such as the pencil skirt, in layers of organza for an ethereal effect. And yet in others, the newness comes in the form of slight tweaks on traditional shapes, such as the sharpened shoulder and half-sleeve on a crisp white cotton jacket belted with raw-edged ribbon. The mostly pale, restrained palette and lack of embellishment also contributed to the cause.

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